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Digital Design using Digilent FPGA Boards (Verilog Academic), 2nd Edition

Written by Richard E. Haskell & Darrin M. Hanna

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This book uses over 75 examples to show you how to get started designing digital circuits in VHDL or Verilog, simulate them, and quickly and easily download them to your Basys™ or Nexys2™ board. Get up and running quickly from the basics to the 7-segment display, memory, VGA port, PS/2 port, and more - step-by-step, by example!

A major revolution in digital design has taken place over the past decade. Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) can now contain over a million equivalent logic gates and tens of thousands of flip-flops. This means that it is not possible to use traditional methods of logic design involving the drawing of logic diagrams when the digital circuit may contain thousands of gates. The reality is that today digital systems are designed by writing software in the form of hardware description languages (HDLs). The most common HDLs used today are VHDL and Verilog. Both are in widespread use. When using these hardware description languages the designer typically describes the behavior of the logic circuit rather than writing traditional Boolean logic equations. Computer-aided design tools are used to both simulate the VHDL or Verilog design and to synthesize the design to actual hardware.

This book assumes no previous knowledge of digital design. You start at the beginning learning about basic gates, logic equations, Boolean algebra, and Karnaugh maps. In over 75 examples we show you how to design digital circuits using VHDL or Verilog, simulate them using the Aldec Active-HDL simulator, and synthesize the designs to a Xilinx Spartan3E FPGA on either the Basys™ or Nexys2™ FPGA board. A free student edition of Active-HDL simulator is available from Aldec Inc ( To synthesize your design to a Spartan3E FPGA, you will need to download the Free ISE WebPACK from Xilinx Inc.( The Xilinx synthesis tools are called from within the Aldec Active-HDL integrated GUI. We will use the ExPort utility to download your synthesized design to the Spartan3E FPGA. ExPort is part of the Adept software suite that you can download free from Digilent, Inc.

Table of Contents:


  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Basic Logic Gates
  • 3. Boolean Algebra and Logic Equations
  • 4. Implementing Digital Circuits
  • 5. Combinational Logic
  • 6. Arithmetic Circuits
  • 7. Sequential Logic
  • 8. Finite State Machines
  • 9. Datapaths and Control Units
  • 10. Integrating the Datapath and Control Unit
  • 11. Memory
  • 12. VGA Controller
  • 13. PS/2 Port
  • Appendix A – Aldec Active-HDL Tutorial
  • Appendix B – Number Systems
  • Appendix C – Making a Turnkey System
  • Appendix D – VHDL/Verilog Quick Reference Guide

Click here to download the complete table of contents. (VHDL Edition)

Click here to download the complete table of contents. (Verilog Edition)

Important Notes on Software and Hardware Versions
If you are using a Basys board, you must use the user constraints file (.ucf) file for the Basys board (basys.ucf) available at

If you are using a Basys2 board, you must use the user constraints file (.ucf) file for the Basys2 board (basys2board.ucf) available at and you must download the Adept 2.1 (or above) software from the Adept Software page.

You can not use the Adept 1.10 with the Basys2 board.

For more information regarding appropriate software versions and usage instructions, please see:
Important Notes on Software and Hardware Versions.pdf